Saving The 100 Club
The iconic Oxford Street venue has been hosting bands since 1942 but now faces closure because its expenses are higher than its revenues.
“When it comes to rock and roll, The 100 Club is the best room in London. No contest. Rock and roll was created in small, sweaty clubs, that’s where the music sounds best,” Gillespie told Contactmusic. He described the venue as “a living piece of history.”
Although the 350-capacity club has staged various styles of music over seven decades, its heyday came in the punk days of the 1970s. The diary would regularly include Sex Pistols, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Clash, Buzzcocks and The Damned.
The advent of a more hardcore punk brought The Varukers, Discharge, Charged GBH, Crass, Picture Frame Seduction, and English Dogs.
Matlock is adamant the venue should remain open because of its tradition. He says The Sex Pistols once played a residency there, which began with the band performing to less than a dozen people each night.
By the end of the residency, it had established the act as the forefront punk band, with the place crowded and a queue around the block to get in.
The Rolling Stones played a secret show there in May 1982 as a warm-up for a European tour, and did another in ’86 as a tribute to their recently deceased pianist Ian Stewart.
The second show was the band’s only performance between ’82 and ’89.
The 100 Club has subsequently staged shows from a wide range of performers including The Clash, Hugh Masekela, Oasis, Travis, The White Stripes, Sinead O’Connor and Beverly Knight.
The Musicians’ Union has also spoken out against the planned closure of the venue. MU assistant general secretary Horace Trubridge says it’s yet another example of an extremely popular venue threatened with closure due to financial pressure.
Club director Jeff Horton released a statement saying “the writing has been on the wall” since the rent increased by 45 percent in 2007.
The 100 Club is believed to be spending as much 80 percent of its income on keeping up payments to its landlord and the revenue authorities.